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Fucking in the Streets

Cold Turkey

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Jim Newberry

Thanksgiving does not rock. In Seattle, in terms of rock shows and club nights and the rest, the long holiday weekend is about as quiet as can be. The few exceptions on Saturday—the Aviation Records showcase at Neumo's, the Trashies' house show, an afterparty with SunTzu Sound—only served to highlight how sleepy the week was.

It was even quieter down at my mom's house in Eugene, Oregon. We're not really a musical family. There's no background music in the kitchen or at the table. There was no music in the car ride from the Amtrak station (Jimmy Buffett's License to Chill was in the CD player, but it never got played; later, my mom asked me if I like CCR, and I answered somewhat equivocally), and when I put something on the stereo, it was almost immediately too loud. The one exception to the music-free zone was a Friday-evening viewing of Bing Crosby's White Christmas on the TV in the living room, which wasn't exactly a riot.

Over at my dad's place, things were a little livelier in the music department. He's been listening to the local high-school radio station lately—he says it's the oldest-running FM station on the West Coast—and on Thanksgiving Day they were playing a free-form mix of light dub, soul, and drum 'n' bass. I played him some Hold Steady, because I thought he might dig their Springsteenian qualities and because "Stuck Between Stations" had been stuck in my head all morning, especially the lines about John Berryman and the devil on the Washington Avenue Bridge.

Driving between houses in my mom's car, I listened to Of Montreal's Abstract, Icons Thee, one of a couple CDs I have on hand (there's no input for an iPod). Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer? ranks among my favorite albums of the year, but I was late in picking up on its brilliance, and I'm late again on this EP of leftover tracks (four of the EPs five tracks are included on the vinyl edition of the album). "Du Og Meg" and "Voltaic Crusher/Undrum to Muted Da" are so instantly winning that I'm mad at myself for not having heard them sooner. The former song is an indie-rock fairy tale—American girl falls for Eastern European boy, joins his band, they get married and live happily ever after—set to a relentless pop beat. The latter is basically one shining chorus after another piled on top of each other. Its best moments are the chord change on the line "Christ knows she deserves something nice for a change" and the lyric "I tried to mature/be responsible dot dot dot/but my heart is juvenile/and my character's not so hot." For songs like this, Kevin Barnes and crew can be forgiven for all their professed character flaws and questionable commercial appearances ("DÜSSELDORF!").

On Friday afternoon, I decided to interview my sister about her long-running fandom of New Kids on the Block, because I thought it might make for a good column in the absence of anything happening. My first-ever concert was New Kids on the Block at the Kingdome. I was 9 years old, my sister was 12, and she wanted to go, but my mom wouldn't let her go alone. So my mom bribed me with a Nintendo game (it was Little Nemo the Dream Master, and it was an awesome game), and I went with her (I also made her buy me a T-shirt). My sister was quite possibly our suburb's second-biggest New Kids fan—you couldn't see the walls of her room for all the Teen Beat posters, she had all the albums, at least one doll, and VHS tapes of TV appearances and their short-lived cartoon show. She followed their career through the backlash (she says they "disbanded for a bit, due to all the media negativity"); through their final/comeback album in 1994 ("I was glad they were putting out another album, because I didn't like a lot of the rap and hiphop-type stuff that was popular at the time"); through the breakup (after graduating high school in 1995, she flew to Boston with our local NKOTB fan #1 to stake out the boys' homes: "We ended up meeting Danny and Donnie, and we saw Joey drive by and wave"); and through their solo careers and appearances on Oprah and Dancing with the Stars.

Her favorite band now is *NSYNC, and our one musical common ground is Justin Timberlake's solo career, although she says, "[Timberlake] is nice, but I like *NSYNC better together—it's like a solo violin versus an orchestra."

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So, after the holiday, what I'm thankful for: having a weekend overflowing with good musical options ahead. On Thursday, November 29, Italo torchbearers Glass Candy play Club Pop at Chop Suey and lo-fi pop duo Katharine Hepburn's Voice are at the Sunset; weirdo rockers Les Savy Fav assault Neumo's on Friday and then, on Saturday, The Thermals will level whatever's left of the place; the Cops have a CD-release party for their new album, Free Electricity, at Vera on Saturday with Boat and Throw Me the Statue; while, also on Saturday, Whalebones and Shane Tutmarc & the Traveling Mercies play the High Dive. It's good to be home.recommended

egrandy@thestranger.com

 

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